Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader

Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader

Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader

Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader


The work of Jacques Derrida has transformed our understanding of a range of disciplines in the humanities through its questioning of some of the basic tenets of western metaphysics. This volume is a trans-disciplinary collection dedicated to his work. The assembled contributions--on law, literature, ethics, gender, politics and psychoanalysis--constitute an investigation of the role of Derrida's work in the humanities, present and future. The volume is distinguished by work on some of his most recent writings, and contains Derrida's own address on "the future of the humanities".


The present volume may be the first overtly trans-disciplinary “reader” devoted to Derrida's work in its current phase. These essays were not only to be “pedagogic” in demonstrating one or more ways to read Derrida's extensions into these fields. They were called together to ask again why or how, “today, ” Derrida's interventions are to be tracked, and what the consequences of this project stand, perhaps, to be in the institutions of the human sciences or a “Humanities” to come.

Three premises, therefore, underlie the essays gathered here: (1) That Derrida's work, “today, ” might be tracked by its interface with a series of different “disciplines, ” different questions, to make connections for the reader as to how these might work or are underway in scholarship or thinkingtoday: thus, for the first time, a volume in which the somewhat formal questions of Derrida and Law, … and Literature, … and Aesthetics, … and Politics, … and Psychoanalysis, … and Ethics, … and Technology, … and Representation, and so on, might be addressed as pretexts for more or less exemplary exploration;

(2) That these essays, virtually or otherwise, would concern themselves less with the polemical contexts of Derrida's past reception – distracting misprisions of “nihilism” or “relativism” or “linguisticism, ” and so on – than demonstrate by interrogation and performance the “affirmative deconstruction” that Derrida has, from the first, insisted was the necessarily transformative premise of his thought;

(3) That these essays might have access to more recent work of Derrida's, or developments which bringinto play texts and perspectives (for instance, on hospitality and religion, technicity and the “secret”) either unavailable to or unemphasized in earlier treatments of this text.

Collectively, such a trans-disciplinary volume would ask, implicitly, not only the question of the “future of the humanities” in relation to Derrida's work (the title of Derrida's own contribution to the volume) but provide a virtual network or interactive and multi-linked website of . . .

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